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Old 25 Mar 2012
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What's the Weather Like- Northern California- December / January

G'day Guys

My wife and I want to hire a bike and poke around Northern California in the December and January coming up. Coming from Australia we're used to touring long distances, but we're concerned about how cold it will be. What's the go? Is riding still enjoyable at this time of year?
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Old 25 Mar 2012
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Hope someone from Northern Cal can be more specific, But from what I know of area it can be cold, wet and snowing in the higher elevations. If you really need to come during those months stay south and at lower elevations or head to Florida. I have had to chain up to drive through the mountains.
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Old 25 Mar 2012
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Cool and wet on the coast, cold and snowy in the interior.
Bruce Clarke - 2020 Yamaha XV250
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Old 25 Mar 2012
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Originally Posted by Gary_58 View Post
G'day Guys

My wife and I want to hire a bike and poke around Northern California in the December and January coming up. Coming from Australia we're used to touring long distances, but we're concerned about how cold it will be. What's the go? Is riding still enjoyable at this time of year?
Hi, we toured that area Dec to March just gone. Any elevation above 3000ft can get cold and loads of snow. San Fran to Oregon gets lots of misty wet days and can be cold. 150 miles north of LA heading south is usually warm in the day but can be chilly in the tent at night. If you want it warm head out to Phoenix or down to Baja - San Filipe is nice - cross the border at Tecate or Algadones.
Route 66 from LA to Kingman is nice with a stop in Oatman on the way - that should be in the 80's that time of year.


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Old 25 Mar 2012
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Those are good responses. Cold and wet is the rule, with low angle sun and the potential for snow (and black ice) anytime you get away from the coast, which you necessarily do. A lot of the sights are worth seeing (redwoods, coast highway, Lost Coast, Mt. Shasta and Lassen, etc.), but not that time of year on a bike. Try again in spring, summer or fall. When planning your trip, pay attention to altitude: the difference between sea level and 1500 meters elevation can mean the difference between (sometimes) warm sunshine and 6 meter deep snowpack which is still being plowed out in July.

On the other hand, sometimes you luck into a couple of good days in a row. It's been known to happen.

Hope that's helpful.

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Old 11 Jun 2012
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If you can come in Sept, Oct, or Nov those months can have excellent weather, especially along the coast. Nice in the mid 70s, with an abnormal amount of sunshine, sometimes even more than the summer.
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Old 16 Jun 2012
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Most of all the scenic passes over the Sierra's are closed until late Spring. Weather in the mountains calls for cold, snow and ice. Coastal areas will be cold and wet. I like the suggestion of heading to Baja, better weather.
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Old 16 Jun 2012
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Especially coming from a temperate climate like Queensland I can think of better places to ride in Dec/Jan.

Don't get me wrong, it is doable along the coast. I used to have to ride the coast going down to Death Valley from Oregon every January. Each year it was the same. Siskiyou pass snowed in or chance of snow until you got south of Mt Shasta, Cascade passes chance of snow, east side of Sierra cold, cold cold. Trinity national forest snowed in, Beautiful Mt. Lassen closed for the season, all the great passes in the Sierra except the Interstate to Reno closed for the winter.

I would have to ride all the way down to the Bay area and cut over to Bakersfield and around south through the Mohave just to get to Death Valley.

And many years the southwest storms would pound the coast through the redwoods heading back north.

If you are renting bikes in the SF area better to head on a loop south on Hwy 1 down past Big Sur, check out Hearst Castle, over across from Paso Robles to Joshua Tree and the Mohave and up through the foothills of the Sierra on 49 and back or something like that. I don't think you can take rented bikes down to Baja, otherwise that would be a good idea as well.

Just some ideas.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
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